Letter to the editor
I am an international student from China and working on my doctoral degree in education. I live between UB’s North and South Campuses on Eggert Road. On Oct. 12, I was on my way to my friend’s house, who is another Chinese student living near South Campus. On the way to her place, I saw two Indian girls chatting and walking across the street. Seemingly, they were on their way home from school.
Then, some random guy driving a yellow Ford sedan stopped at the stop sign and shouted out at the girls: “go back to your country! Leave!” They did not hear at first, so they asked him to repeat himself. The guy shouted again and said “get lost!”
One of the Indian students shook her head and said something like “what a jerk.” They kept walking and the guy drove away. I was at the stop sign too, shocked beyond words. I pulled myself back together after a few seconds. I am also a foreigner and if I was walking at that time, he would have told me to get out of the country too. I felt relieved that I was not walking and sorry for the two Indian students.
I love the place I live and love UB as the place where I am furthering my education. I have been in Buffalo for almost three years, and it is like my second home. Nobody deserves to be told to “get out” of where he or she is right now. We are here in the U.S. for a reason: to study. Every time I recall that Indian girl’s eyes, I feel pity and heartbreak. Whether domestic or international, we have so many things to do to construct an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming environment for everyone. We as international students will leave eventually, but I hope when anyone leaves the U.S., the memory of staying and living here will be warm and friendly.
No one should mistreat others because of their immigration status or race. Most Americans are foreigners and immigrants in a way. The so-called prestige of being a U.S. citizen does not entitle anyone to shut the door in a foreigner’s face. That is not the U.S. that I know from American movies or sitcoms, and it is definitely not the America that I learned from textbooks before I came here.
It is sometimes confusing to international students when American classmates and professors are quite friendly and supportive in class, but outside of academia, people are shouting at us to get lost. Social justice should not stop at the classroom door. Believe it or not, it is a matter of choice. We should choose to welcome differences when we encounter them, not only in schools, but also in our real lives.
苑迪,Di Yuan, Ph.D. second year student, Department of Learning and Instruction